The United States has begun to reveal great ambitions in the semiconductor field.
The Korea Herald previously reported that in late September, the U.S. Department of Commerce asked major chip companies and automakers to share business information in response to the global chip crisis. According to the latest news, Samsung Electronics is expected to submit information about its chip business to the U.S. government by a Nov. 8 deadline.
At the Korea Electronics Show (KES) last week, Kim Ki-nam, vice chairman and CEO of Samsung’s device solutions division, said the company was “calmly” preparing an answer to the request. But a Samsung official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “There seems to be no choice but to comply with the demands.”
In the past, in order to ensure the security of the supply chain, US President Biden signed an executive order, which naturally includes technology products such as chips.
It is understood that the information provided by the US government from these chip manufacturers includes chip inventories, technology nodes, and sensitive trade secrets such as pricing, customers, and sales records, which naturally arouses the concerns of these manufacturers, although the US government has stated that the information sharing is “voluntary” , but for some companies in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan Province of China, this requirement is undoubtedly “forced”.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo also warned: “If businesses don’t respond to this request, then we have other tools in our ‘toolbox’ asking them to give us data. I hope we won’t get there. But if necessary , we will do it.”
In addition to Samsung, another chip foundry giant, TSMC, was also asked to provide commercial data, but TSMC’s attitude towards the US Department of Commerce can be described as “reversed many times”.
After the U.S. Department of Commerce requested to submit confidential documents, on September 30, TSMC stated that it would not harm the rights and interests of customers and shareholders. On October 6, TSMC’s chief legal officer re-emphasized that in order to protect customers’ sensitive information, the company is actively studying relevant countermeasures.
But just as consumers raved about TSMC’s choice, on October 22, TSMC’s attitude suddenly reversed. In the face of pressure from the United States, TSMC chose to compromise and said it would submit relevant materials to the United States before November 8. According to industry insiders, TSMC stands in the United States for its own interests, which is undoubtedly a kind of harm to some customers.
As public opinion continued to ferment, on October 25, TSMC once again “changed its face” and said that the company refused to provide confidential data to the US Department of Commerce, and it would not harm the interests of customers and shareholders.
In just one month, TSMC has experienced three attitude reversals. In addition to the pressure from the United States, the pressure from customers cannot be ignored.
For Samsung, its right to speak in the chip foundry circle is not as strong as that of TSMC. With the final date approaching, there seems to be no possibility of a reversal.